"If we could hang all our sorrows on pegs and were allowed to choose those we liked best, everyone of us would take back his own, for all the rest would seem even more difficult to bear."
Rabbi Nahum of Stepinesht

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Leadership Notes -- Thoughts on Leading People and Making a Difference in Organizations

Word count this issue: 668

Estimated reading time:  4.0 minutes (including poem)


In early November of 2015, a new baby came into my girlfriend's family. His grandmother and I are presently 56 years old. When he is 56 it will be the year 2071. 2071?! This little boy will be growing up in the most amazing time. Rapid and radical technological changes occurring right now are impacting our time’s zeitgeist, politics, economics, and society. This new baby’s world could be like Star Trek; with a moral code that includes a ‘Prime Directive’, amazing medical advances, clean energy, an economy and society that honours every person’s gifts and a world that balances science, technology, ethics and art equally. Or, he could have a world that looks like The Terminator series of movies; a few violent humans clinging to an environmental disaster of a planet terrorized by binary machines. 


I want to challenge each of us, established leaders and emerging leaders to co-create  a world that is safe for all people. This is a call to co-create new ways of living sustainable and healthy lives for people, and the other inhabitants of this small blue planet. Tech systems are getting better all the time while the rest of us are playing games and watching Netflix! We need to be learning together, not just being entertained together. If we are to thrive in this new age, we must be better humans, for ourselves and for each other.


The fundamental questions for all of us are, who am I and who am I becoming? Remember, you are not what happened to you, instead, you are what you choose to become.


In 1895, the poet Rudyard Kipling wrote a poem about growing up.




If you can keep your head when all about you

  Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

  But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

  Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,

  And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:


If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;

  If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

  And treat those two impostors just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you've spokenFa

  Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

  And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:


If you can make one heap of all your winnings

  And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings

  And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

  To serve your turn long after they are gone,

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

  Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”


If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,

  Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

  If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

  With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,

  And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son.



The obvious Victorian sexism noted, this poem calls all of us to the same questions “who am I and whom am I becoming? All of the leadership, management and technical skills you might have learned or practice are simply scratching at the surface of these fundamental questions. There is one thing I am sure of, the answers to these questions are not found by a Google search. They are found by challenging and hard work.